6 Smart Ideas for Container Gardens that Attract Pollinators

Want to support the bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies but don't have space for a full garden? Try these containers filled with pollinator-friendly plants.

Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are essential to help increase fruit and vegetable production. Even if you only have a small space, you can help maintain the population of pollinators by planting nectar-filled flowers in containers. In fact, It's easy to achieve a balcony pollinator garden by grouping a few pots to make an expanse of nectar-rich flowers. You just need to choose a container that will accommodate a variety of single-petal plants of different heights and habits so that the flowers' blooms will extend from spring to fall. Then, place the container near a bench or porch where you can watch the pollinators feed and fly. Here are six containers that are filled with the best plants for pollinators so you can accessorize your space with beautiful blooms while helping to sustain the food supply.

container garden

Include Bee Friendly Balcony Plants

To create a pollinator garden for butterflies and bees, you need to include species with plenty of nectar-rich flowers. The more of these plants you have in your container, the more you'll be able to enjoy butterflies and other fascinating insects. Packed with blue, pink, and red cornflowers along with Spanish lavender, blanket flower, and baby's breath, this container provides a perfect banquet for bees.

container garden

Plant Tube-Shaped Blooming Perennials That Attract Hummingbirds

Planting a container with a vibrant mix of red, orange, and bright pink tube-shaped blooms is an easy way to attract hummingbirds. For ongoing color, consider filling the container with the hummingbirds' favorite plants that last from spring to fall. Here, Salvia 'Mystic Spires', red and purple verbena (Verbena canadensis), and coral and raspberry autumn sage (Salvia greggii) are sure to lure hummingbirds as well as add a pop of inviting color to the landscape.

container garden

Choose Brightly Colored Container Plants for Butterflies

Bring butterflies close to you by planting a butterfly container garden filled with long-blooming, daisy-shaped flowers. Butterfly favorites such as delphinium, 'Queen Victoria' salvia, red verbena, and coreopsis provide food and respite for fluttering wings. In general, butterflies favor brightly colored flowers in red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and blue. They prefer flowers with "landing pads," such as coreopsis, where they can perch while they eat.

Provide Host Plants for Butterflies

container garden

You can help boost butterfly populations by planting "host" plants to provide food for caterpillars. Herbs that attract butterflies are magnets for many species of egg-laying females. Here, this repurposed galvanized washtub with drainage holes contains (from right to left) flat-leaf parsley, verbena, white coneflower, hibiscus, sedum, curly parsley, and rudbeckia.

Don't Forget Dill

container garden

Dill is a favorite host plant of the Eastern Black Swallowtail, a butterfly found throughout much of North America. Simple to start from seed, dill pairs well with salvia, dianthus, and calibrachoa.

Buy It: Bouquet Dill Herb Heirloom Seeds ($2, Etsy)

container garden

Create a Whole Habitat

A successful pollinator garden plan appeals to the gardener with its beauty and plants that provides food, shelter, and breeding for pollinators. Using the largest container you can find, like this washtub, will allow you to please the most palates. Buddleja, rudbeckia, calibrachoa, ageratum, and aster offer something for everyone in this dramatic display.

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